It’s not as hard as you may think to create a tropical paradise in your own garden. This Mediterranean and exotic plants guide will give you all the help and advice you need to ensure success…
We sell a wide range of Mediterranean and exotic plants, for something a bit special for your garden. Many of them are much easier to grow than you might think. They’re quite low maintenance once established, and are much hardier then they look. If given the proper care, they will thrive in the UK.
The vast majority of Mediterranean and exotic plants are supplied as established potted plants, which are ready to plant out straight away. When your plants arrive, unpack them carefully and check them. If you cannot plant them straight away, keep them somewhere sheltered and frost-free, such as a conservatory, garage or greenhouse. You’ll need to plant most of these plants within a couple of days of receipt.
We recommend growing Mediterranean and exotic plants in large pots as this will help to warm their roots – aiding growth. It will also enable you to move them into a protected area from very low temperatures and frost. Not only that, they do look great in pots! Plant them into large pots that are 25cm or more in diameter. In a few years you may need to re-pot into larger pots if your plants have outgrown them. Use a few stones or crocks at bottom of the pot for weight and to aid drainage. Use good quality compost such as our Premium Professional Compost, firm down with your heel, and water well.
Grow your Mediterranean and exotic plants in the warmest, sunniest part of your garden – they are used to much better weather in their home climate! If growing straight in the ground, make sure the soil is well drained as they don’t like having ‘wet feet’. When planting, add some grit/sand along with compost/organic matter for best results.
Feed and water them well in summer – almost all of their growth will be during the summer months – even palms. Whilst these types of plants are very drought tolerant and can survive long periods without water, they will grow much better if well fed and watered in that period. Feed them with a general purpose fertiliser such as Fish, Blood & Bone.
Winter Protection & Hardiness
With the colder winters of the last few years, protecting plants over winter has been important. Move potted plants indoors to a greenhouse, garage or conservatory until the risk of frosts has passed. In most cases, over-wintering them somewhere with little light will not harm your plants – just make sure they don’t dry out.
If you are growing your plants in the ground, cover them with Fleece Covers to help to increase the plant’s temperature, and grow them in warm, sunny spots such as against a south-facing wall. Cover the ground around each plant with a generous covering of mulch, to add an extra layer of protection for the roots. The more established a plant is, the more likely it is to survive harsher weather, so protect your plants well in the first few years.
Whilst many plants are quoted as being hardy to a certain temperature – say, -6°C for example – it is generally more complicated than this in practice, as there are a number of factors that will affect a plant’s hardiness – such as the age of the plant, moisture, or how recently it was planted. This absolute figure is correct in that they will survive short exposure to this temperature. If exposed to prolonged low temperatures around or below 0°C, the plant will deteriorate. Also, if the soil/compost you’ve planted it in becomes waterlogged, many “exotic” plants will also struggle. This is often more important than the temperature factor. That said, the plants we supply are all known to thrive in the UK if well looked-after, and will become much more tolerant over the coming years as they establish.
Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
These are evergreen and will look great all year – perfect for framing a door or path. They’re very hardy and don’t need protecting from frosts. Younger plants will need sheltering from the worst winds, so for best results use tree stakes and ties to support young trees. They will not spread as much as other evergreen trees such as Leylandii – so much easier to control. For best results, remove fir-cones as they form – this will keep the plant in best shape.
Plant in pots or directly into the ground. Dig a hole the length of the rootball and twice the width, fill your hole back in and water in well.
Keep watering about twice a week for the next month, then once a week thereafter.
These make excellent decorative bushes – our standard form olives will look excellent framing a front door. They will probably never produce any meaningful fruit in the UK, unless grown under glass. It’s just too cold and wet!